Some might say they’ve found the best folding bike. But to find the best folding bike brands, well, that’s a little harder. After all, to be one of the best brands, you have to consistently produce quality bikes year on year, model after model. We’ve put together a list of the best folding bike brands.
Well, Brompton is an obvious one. It’s your sort of oldie but goldie option. But that’s not all there is. We love anything by Tern, Vello, Dahon, Zizzo, and Airnimal too. In fact, that list, to us, is the perfect list of folding bike brands.
But what exactly makes them so special? There’s a bunch of different pros and some cons too to all these brands, and below we’ll cover them all so you can decide for yourself which is the very best brand for you.
Are you ready to find out why these 6 brands make our list of best folding bike brands? Then let’s get to it below.
We already said that Bromptons are oldies but goldies, and what we really meant by that is that to many, folding bikes are only what they are today thanks to Brompton.
With their insistence upon using proprietary parts and designing a folding bike with 2 folding points that work seamlessly together to create the perfect compact package for commuter use, it’s no wonder they have the reputation they enjoy today.
They’re one of the leading brands in the folding bike industry and all their bikes are known for their longevity and durability, making the initial investment worth it to many folding bike enthusiasts.
But as with everything in life, it’s not all perfect, so below we’ve put together a handy list of Brompton’s strengths and weaknesses as a brand:
- Proprietary parts ensuring quality
- Fast, compact, and a steady ride
- Folds up well, quickly and easily
- Compact package when folded
- Plenty of model options to choose from (including more modern, geared options)
Maybe the only real downside of Bromptons is that they’re quite expensive. That doesn’t mean that it is for everyone, but it is best at what it is supposed to do.
If Brompton is the wise old grandpa of the folding bike brands, then Tern is the cool uncle. Innovation seems to be the order of the day with Tern, and every new bike they release always creates a buzz in the cycling world.
Why because they design and create bikes for ALL types of users. Need a full-size folding bike for exercise. Tern has one. You want a 20-inch ultra-compact folding bike easy to roll and carry around. They have that too.
With Tern, you can also expect some of the best-looking bikes around, and no, this isn’t always important to people looking for folding bikes, but when Tern is ticking so many boxes with their bikes, such as them being lightweight, quick, compact, easy to fold, and comfortable, well, the design may as well get a big tick too, right?
- Innovative brand that’s constantly looking to the future
- Plenty of models serving different types of commuters, cyclists, and leisure riders
- Outstanding designs
- Stable rides
- Lightweight frame
- Sturdy tyres
Tern also produces outstanding quality bikes and one of the main shortcomings is that some models are very pricey (but perhaps it’s justified to the people they’re designed for). It’s been reported that hinge clamps have a tendency to wear down – need constant maintenance and supervision.
Vello is a practical option. That’s not to say they aren’t exciting, but with Vello, we think you know what you’re going to get every time.
And that’s actually great for those of you who like to pick a bike brand that you know and love and stick with them forever. Might they make big design changes with their next model? They might, but we doubt it! And why would you?
The frames are always super lightweight, their bikes are always designed for practical commuting (such as with their folding mudguards and handlebars), and the patented folding system means you can have them folded and unfolded in two simple steps.
When everything works together so seamlessly, why would you change it drastically?
- Ultra lightweight frames
- Folding handlebars
- Folding mudguards
- Stable ride
- Magnet link folding for fast folding on busy commutes
- Great options for different things – ranging from simple commutes, to off-roading at the weekends
The design is quite predictable and may not be exciting for some.
Dahon is a brand that’s based on making bikes well and making them affordable.
That means they have a tonne of entry-level and mid-level bikes available across their range, so you can easily find a bike that’s perfect for you, and kind to your wallet too.
Replacement parts are easy to come by since this folding bike brand is so well known the world over, so you’ll never struggle to upgrade and/or replace broken or worn parts when necessary.
They rely on Shimano and Suntour drivetrains for their bikes, which are both well-known and reliable names in the industry too, so you know you’ll always be able to shift gears easily, and servicing your bike will be a breeze.
- Affordable bikes for everybody
- Replacement parts are easy to come by
- Sturdy aluminum frames
- Shimano and Suntour drivetrain parts
- All their bikes are perfect for commuting
Generally speaking, Dahon has a limited load capacity and there is no way to increase it. Some models are quite heavy weighing similar to a standard hybrid bike
If we had to attribute a characteristic to Zizzo as a brand, it’d be affordability every day of the week. Why? They are some of the most affordable bikes around and looking at others on the market with a similar spec to them, you can often find Zizzo’s prices to be better by at least 30%.
That’s a significant saving. But why? Well, Zizzo is an American company using American parts, mostly selling in America. That cuts costs down considerably when you consider all the other bikes on this list so far are Asia-based or Europe-based.
But these bikes aren’t just affordable. They’re fast-folding, compact, sturdy, and built for a comfortable and secure ride.
- Affordable, American brand
- Fast folds
- Sturdy frame built to last with American parts
- Zizzo frame offers the best strength to weight ratio out there
- Fast on straights and easy uphill
It’s prone to scams – of all the brands, the affordable Zizzo is often used to scam unsuspecting online shoppers – ONLY ever buy from reputable sources or direct at Zizzo’s online shop
And finally, to finish today’s post, we have Airnimal!
Where they excel above all others is the compact size their bikes fold down to. So small, in fact, you could take it on vacation with you.
It’s not necessarily designed to fold down quickly, but if you really need a folding bike that can be as compact as possible when folded, then this bike brand is for you.
Just because it’s designed to fold well though, doesn’t mean it compromises elsewhere. Their bikes are still quick, it’s still an enjoyable ride, and they still offer a large range that caters to different needs.
- One of the most compact folded bikes on the market
- Quick on the road
- Always an enjoyable ride
- Commuter, traveler, and mountain biker options
- Wheel size options are available to suit you
- Designed to accommodate the rider first, and the folding mechanisms second
The folding process compared to others is quite slow and they are heavier than other folding bikes.
So there you have it, our favorite 6 folding bike brands. Any bike from any of these 6 brands are worth looking into, so if you’re in the market for a new folding bike and come across one of these 6 names, then do a little more digging. They might just have the perfect bike for you!